We live in a society of complaint. Each of us has our own “victim” story that we hold dear, our deep reservoir of excuses of why life is not working out as planned and who or what is to blame. Without a doubt each of us have been “victims” in certain experiences or events, but no longer are we in those spaces today, yet continually we identify ourselves as “victims” over and over. What keeps us in a victim state? An inability to forgive.

Forgiveness, it’s such a tricky thing. Who does not want to deem themselves to be someone who forgives? We are taught “forgiveness” is what we “should” do, but do you? Do you really forgive those who hurt you? Offend you, maybe even insult you or worse? And what if those hurts are abhorrent, seemingly above forgiveness? Do you still forgive? Yes, but let me explain -- forgiveness is not absolution for your perpetrator, but an inward act of healing and grace for yourself.

I believe when you withhold forgiveness you live in the past. You tie yourself to your victim story, the places you are broken. We all have broken places, wounds that never quite heal. In fact, it is in these very wounded places that we can connect to one another in the most profound way, because hurts are a great equalizer in humanity.

Each of us has been to a dark place in our lives, hurt and broken, and so too has the person sitting next to you been to this same dark place. Our individual wounds may have different names and experiences, but underneath it is the same - pain. To escape this pain, we blame others, withhold forgiveness and carry on our victim story disempowering our lives at every turn.

I was just about thirty when I discovered I wasn’t a victim. Yes, of course, there had been terrifying moments of truly being a victim over the years, but I discovered a new philosophy through reading books by Dr Wayne Dyer about “there is a valid reason for everything that happens.” It is quite a bitter pill to swallow – the concept that you are responsible for everything that has happened in your life.

When I first read this, my reaction was immediate horror – how could I be responsible for any of those horrible experiences? And then, I looked at my life again and I saw the web. The complex reality of all these experiences and there impact on my life for better and worse. I saw the silver linings in the horrific events.

Yes, in certain moments, surely I was a victim, but after that moment in time, it is how I related to that event that I either continued to be a victim or found the courage to transcend. This is not to deny the anguish or even heartache of these events, but to go beyond the pain to gain new understanding. The understanding that events and experiences happen, but I am not defined by just that staggering moment. Instead, I am defined by my courage as I face disappointments, failures, betrayals, and even hurts.

When you transcend and take responsibility for everything that happens in your life, you step into your power. For me this is when I discovered a deeper connection to Spirit. I began to understand my soul’s purpose and see the underlining truth – this is my life today, I chose who I want to be every day. The events and experiences of my past have lead me to this place and I am grateful to finally be able to view past disappointments and hurts to discover courage. Once you discover the silver lining, it is almost impossible to maintain the resentment to withhold your forgiveness.

Let me be clear, this does not excuse the offense, nor does this mean you need to contact the offender to let them know they are forgiven. (However, in most cases this would be the goal.) Truly, forgiveness begins within. It begins with self. Can you forgive yourself for your own mistakes, real or imagined? Forgiveness is no far off place. It is here, today, waiting for you to step into…Courage.

Author's Bio: 

Kelly Ballard is a workshop leader, intuitive counselor and energy healer specializing in guiding others to discover positive solutions for immediate change in their lives. Through private sessions, workshops and meditations, Kelly uses a variety of techniques to release blocks, enabling people to experience their most abundant and prosperous lives today. Kelly is also a regular contributor to the widely read spiritual magazine, The Odyssey.. To read more about her services and CDs, please visit her web site at www.kellyballard.com.